(This is set directly after "A Little Priest." Sorry it's so short. And thanks to all who've reviewed my other fiction!)
That night they had something of a clandestine celebration, but though low-key it was all the more merry and gay, and they laughed and talked quietly over dinner, an unspoken truce formed between them for the moment in acquiescence of their triumphant, if villainous, collaboration. Mr. Todd was still very pale and ghastly-looking, but there was a lively spark in his eye that hadn't been there before. He never passed up an opportunity to compliment Nellie (Mrs. Lovett) on her cookery, and he was fit to burst with glee as he softly sang out glorious plans of further gory intensity. Who would've thought it? Meat pies!
Dinner done, they rose and again flew together in a dance of wicked ecstasy, Nellie twirling herself about and kicking up her heels with that reckless abandon so characteristic of her, Mr. Todd grasping her hand all the while and supporting her in her reeling giddiness, ever the delicate gentleman. She kissed his lips and he didn't pull away (much to her delighted amazement) but clasped her about the waist as she leaned nearer, one white hand stroking her matted locks. Nellie cared not whether he loved her truly or no. The picture on the shelf of his wife and little one stood between them still, emblem of dearer ones than herself as it remained, but if he would yield himself to her for a moment she would have him.
Minutes passed. It was half past midnight. They lay, still and silent, upon the hard, gray wood of the floor. Nellie touched Mr. Todd's face and his unsettling gaze settled on her once more. Her hand wandered along him, passing smoothly down his neck, slender fingers picking at the fastenings of his coarse vest. He caught her hands in his and held them.
"I cannot give you what you want of me," he said.
She smiled. "And yet you lie here," she said. "You've done so, ain't you, for quite a while now."
A smile twitched at his mouth as well. "Drink weakens the best of us," he said.
"Aren't you grateful?—indebted to me?" Nellie freed herself of his grasp.
"I am," Mr. Todd acknowledged, "but for all I owe you, I mayn't betray…her."
"Lucy!" Elena spat out the word. Wine had weakened her, too. "She is dead."
Mr. Todd flinched, but his expression was enigmatic as ever. "Never was she so to me. Never shall she ever be."
Their mutual, queerly spasmodic amusement again bubbled up at this hint of a rhyme and soothed to nothingness their brief disagreement and consequent anger. Nellie pressed nearer him, trembling as she felt him embrace her. He was hopelessly inebriated. She only wished she were not likewise addled, else she could've taken better advantage of him. But they were both done-in by liquor, by differing sorts of pleasure, and the weightier effects of exhaustion. They were drained physically, worn out by all the exertions of the day, by their poverty—their lack of food and rest. They slept in one another's arms, Mrs. Lovett's head tucked warmly beneath Mr. Todd's chin, his starved body curled close about her. The night passed uneventfully.